Saturday, July 26, 2014

Remembering Mati and Max

Recently I learned of the passing of these two lovely souls.  

This is what I wrote about Mati back in 2009 when I first painted her portrait:  "Don't let the grey muzzle fool you, this girl is still very much young at heart. You can see her playful spirit in her eyes, in her countenance and posture. Mati, short for Matilda, is named for the character in the Roald Dahl short story. She was the one left out, from whom not much was expected. That sort of explains Mati's start in life, as well. She was the little shy one, last of her litter, the unchosen. But someone wanted her, very much. And saw the potential in those beautiful eyes. She's now ten years into her life with her special people, who very much love and adore this young lady."

Max was father to our Hunter, and his death from cancer is sad and tragic, a reflection of the illnesses caused by our modern life that we share with our dogs.  But Max, too, had a grand life on a large ranch, running free, pursuing dog interests to his heart's content, expressing all the "dogness" he possessed.  Couldn't ask for more!  
 Here's some of what I wrote about Max back in 2010 after I finished his portrait: "His call name is "Max". His immediate ancestors hail from Germany, where the German Shepherd Dog originated and is still bred best. He lives on a ranch in the stunning southwestern region of NM, near the town of Magdalena, just west of Socorro. His kingdom consists of vast acreage to oversee, beautiful vistas to admire, and a pack of seven, including sons and daughters from his mate, Catey.
He is Hunter's father, and it's quite obvious that my wonderful young "acorn" didn't fall far from this strong and magnificent 'tree.' "

I was privileged to meet both of these dogs in person, and I offer now my condolences to their people, who loved them and now mourn their passing.  It's hard to lose a dog you love, sometimes harder than losing people we care about.  I've been there before myself, and I know the heart ache that can last for months, and even years.  After I lost Mychal, too soon, too tragically, I spent three years in deep mourning, yearning for reassurance that he lived on in Spirit.
As a Christian I found that assurance in God's Word.  Particularly, in several books written by Christians who had experienced the same loss, had the same question, and turned to the Creator for answers.  
"Do Dogs Go To Heaven?" by M. Jean Holmes (available on Amazon) is one book among many that I highly recommend for anyone needing assurance that animals, all living beings, do indeed posses a spirit and a soul, and that spirit returns upon death to the God who created it.  Our beloved dogs and pets, indeed all animals, do go to heaven!  Are you going to meet them there?  I hope so! Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014


"Cody's Girl, Athena", 18" x 24" Oil on Canvas, copyright 2014 Katy Widger

I knew Athena, but only as a casual acquaintance. 

Her boy, Cody, had long since grown up and gone on his way.  She had the air of someone waiting patiently for her master to return.  Her mission in life had been to protect and to serve, and she performed her duty as a true servant, longing for his occasional return, calmly transferring her loyalties and service to the remaining family members.

She lived with my dear friend, Deb, on a ranch in central New Mexico.  Deb is an artist and she gathered together her artist friends on a regular basis.  Athena was always there, an imposing presence, alert but not intrusive to all the conversation and activities nearby.  Sort of like one of those body 
guards or SS men who are present but blend into the background and keep constant watch over 
everything happening that might in some way impact their charge.  

Athena was large, big-boned, with a  golden ruff you wanted to bury your face into.  She was elegant, classy, aloof, well-trained, polite and deeply loved.  And you knew that she knew that if necessary, she could take you down.  I spoke to her  respectfully every time I saw her, but only after many visits did she ever acknowledge me, and I felt honored for the nod.  

It was a privilege to paint her, and I am thankful for the opportunity.  Her amazing, powerful 
presence filled my studio as she came to life on the canvas, and more than once my eyes filled with tears, remembering.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Still Water

"Still Water" 18" x 24" Oil on Gallery Wrapped Canvas copyright 2014 K Widger
Another painting from autumn days spent at Bosque del Apache.  It's a two hour drive from our home, so we usually drive over in the afternoon to see the birds coming into the refuge from areas near by where they feast on corn and grain fields grown especially for them. Once in a while we try and make it for the sunrise fly-out, which is spectacular, with thousands of birds taking flight simultaneously.
This scene was early in the fall, at sunset. There were other cranes in the immediate vicinity, but this crane stood alone in his own private flooded field, watched only by us and a golden eagle resting nearby.  I re-arranged elements from the original photo to create a more pleasing composition, moving the horizon line, pushing the trees into the background and bringing the crane forward, which necessitated re-arranging all the reflections, as well. 
If interested in purchase, please contact me directly.
SOLD  Thank you so much!

Flight of Icharus

Flight of Icarus 14" x 14" Oil on Gallery-wrapped Canvas

The Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, New Mexico is home to thousands of Sandhill Cranes and other water birds that overwinter there, flying down from their northern breeding grounds to the corn fields and waterways near the Rio Grande. Thousands of birds gather, and the joyful cacophony can be almost deafening at times, but as you watch and wait, the family groups begin to emerge. These three were probably mom, dad and youngster, flying off into the sunset to roost, after enjoying another day of their winter vacation.
The painting is available at The Watermelon Gallery in Cedar Crest, New Mexico. Tell Terry you saw it on my blog.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Interviewed by Katherine Carver, Dog Photographer

Katy at the ABQ Zoo in February 2014

Recently I was interviewed by Animal Photographer Katherine Carver for inclusion in her Blog, Biscuits Space.
Here's a link to her blog and the interview:
I think she did a great job with the format.  It was actually enlightening for me to answer her questions, thinking about the "why I do this,  and how I got here" aspect of my art.  

Thank you, Katherine, for the opportunity to share my art and my story with your readers!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Joy Ride

"Joy Ride" 16 x 20 Oil on Gallery Wrapped Canvas copyright 2014 Katy Widger

Wyatt is undoubtedly the happiest dog I've ever had the pleasure of loving!  Going to the park just adds to his daily dose of joy!  His deep, dark eyes shine with anticipation!   Once on the ground, his long, elegant, fluffy tail goes down level with his back (less drag, you know) and off he goes, running faster than you would imagine he could, to the end of the soccer field, spinning a 180 and meeting us halfway back as we, in comparison to his agile flight, lumber clumsily along, burdened with the affliction of two less legs.  

Zeke, on the other hand, gives it his best shot, and don't get me wrong, he can move, especially when   a motorcycle roars by on the highway and he gives  hopeless pursuit with all his short legs can muster (inside the fenced park).  But Wyatt can run easy circles around us all, joyfully, with much enthusiasm.

I composed this painting by doing some creative editing from several photos taken on the same day as we headed to the soccer park.  Ken was actually operating the car, of course, but Zeke was in his usual spot on his lap, paws on the center of the steering wheel, intent on the destination.  Wyatt, on his center carpeted console, kept interjecting his happy face into my photo, insisting  that I change the center of interest for at least one of the paintings.  

So here's to you, Wyatt, you Happy Dog!  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Underage Driver (Zeke at the Wheel)

Underage Driver copyright 2014 Katy Widger Oil on Canvas
All summer long, almost every day, we drive to the soccer park.  It's only about five minutes away.  Zeke takes his place on Ken's lap. As they drive along, Zeke barks at all the gas meters (they have "arms" and must look like short people to him, I guess).  He also barks, furiously, at any joggers or dog walkers we come across, to the point where we'll take another route if we see anyone in the distance, just to avoid harassing them.
Wyatt sits in the middle, on the console, on a little platform Ken made for him out of a scrap of plywood and a piece of carpet.  He needs to be able to see where he's going.  Sadie sits patiently, quietly on my lap,  And Hunter  anxiously occupies the entire back end.  
If we're lucky there's no one else at the park and the dogs exit the car with much excited barking.  I gear them up but let them drag their leash.  They take off, running, for the other end of the park.  Ken and Hunter take their position for a fierce game of  Frisbee, which is all that interests Hunter.  He heels off leash and does all his other obedience lessons interspersed with retrieving the Frisbee as a reward.
The Apsos are only interested in reading the news and marking their own daily commentary over the fading remarks of previous dogs. Zeke runs, as fast as his short little Apso legs will carry him, across the park, over to Ken and Hunter, back to me, down the field, enjoying the rush of air through his long ears and the sheer excitement of running full out across the soft grass.  Wyatt can easily outpace him, but rarely does so.  He'll run along until some curious scent grabs him and he slides to a halt or backtracks to check it out.  
Sadie keeps up with me and we poke along, occasionally running together to catch up with the boys and to insure that Sadie gets some exercise, too.  She finds  spots that, for no obvious reason I can discern,  occupy her interest, so I wait while she reads the latest gossip and dribbles out her response.
When Hunter's tongue is long we head back to the car, slowly and without anywhere near the enthusiasm with which we exited.  Hunter drains his water bowl, and the little dogs load up, one by one, for the short and quiet journey home.